HB 22: Limited English Access to State Programs is scheduled to be heard TOMORROW at 8:30 a.m. in the House State Government, Elections & Indian Affairs Committee. We need your help to get it passed!
Please join the virtual committee hearings tomorrow and provide public comment in support of the bill. A Zoom link will be available on the PDF calendar posted here.
All New Mexicans deserve equal access to state services, regardless of the language they speak. New Mexico is home to thousands of people that primarily speak Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese and Diné and other languages. Despite being required by law, many agencies do not provide information and services in languages New Mexicans understand. Lack of language services has delayed or prevented New Mexicans from applying for unemployment insurance, food assistance, and Medicaid prior to and during the pandemic and deepens economic and health disparities in our communities.
HB 22 requires state agencies to develop plans to provide help in languages other than English, ensuring that more New Mexicans can access state services. You can share a personal story about why state agencies should provide interpretation or translation. You can also say something like this: “I urge senators to support HB 22. All New Mexicans should have access to state services. Coordinating and planning language services is a common sense step to address health and economic inequities in our state services.”
HB 22 summary
Language Access Analysis, Plan, and Annual Report will increase language access by requiring state agencies to:
- Collect data on the number of New Mexicans that primarily speak a language other than English and determine the resources needed to ensure meaningful access to services through translation and interpretation.
- Develop and implement an annual plan to provide meaningful access to state programs for individuals who primarily speak languages other than English.
- Appropriates $50,000 to the Department of Finance and Administration for expenditure on state agency plans and linguistic data.
- Submit the annual report to the governor and the Legislative Finance Committee.
Public comment instructions
When: 8:30 a.m., Friday, January 21, 2022
How: Click on the PDF calendar available here for a Zoom link.
What to expect during the hearing: The committee will be taking public comment. The chair of the committee will announce the bill and ask who supports HB 22. At that time, to provide a comment use the Zoom reaction button and raise your hand. The Chair will call your name and unmute your zoom when it is your turn to speak.
- Keep your remarks brief and to the point.
- If you have a personal story about how state agencies’ lack of interpretation or translation services has impacted you or your family, please share it.
- Close the Legislature’s webcast page when you give your comment so there is not an echo during your remarks.
- Make sure you are not muted when you start speaking.
- Do not rely on your computer or phone for notes. Write them down or print them in case your computer screen freezes.
- Close other tabs and windows in your browser to make sure your connection is good.
- If your connection or microphone doesn’t work, be prepared to call in with the information above.